Your local pharmacist (chemist) is your healthcare expert on the high street.

Pharmacists provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common health conditions and will be able to help you decide if you need to see a GP or other health service if necessary.

No appointment is needed, and many have separate consulting rooms for completely confidential advice.

Think Pharmacy First

Did you know your pharmacist can now provide some prescription medicine without you needing to see a GP? The new Pharmacy First service offers treatment for seven common conditions:

  • sinusitis
  • sore throat
  • acute earache
  • infected insect bite
  • impetigo
  • shingles
  • uncomplicated urinary tract infections.

Your pharmacist also provides a blood pressure checking service and an oral contraception service.

Same-day consultations for many other minor illnesses can also be arranged by your GP practice.

These can take place by phone, video call or in person at your local pharmacy.  If the pharmacist thinks you need to see another healthcare professional, they will help arrange it.

The pharmacist will also ensure your medical record is updated with the outcome of your consultation, with your consent.

Find a pharmacy

Pharmacists can:

  • dispense medicine on prescription
  • dispense repeat prescriptions without the need to visit your GP
  • give advice on treating common ailments like coughs and colds
  • help you manage long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma
  • give advice on medication, including if you’re taking medicine for lots of different conditions
  • give advice on staying healthy
  • give sexual health and contraception advice
  • provide treatments for common ailments like head lice and athlete’s foot.

Many also offer free emergency contraception including the morning after pill.

Pharmacists are often open late and on weekends, and there are always some open over Bank Holidays.

Run out of your regular medication?

If you’ve completely run out of your regular medication you can request a limited emergency supply online.

This must be a medicine you are prescribed regularly, usually through a repeat prescription. Find out how at

Read more about pharmacies (NHS.UK)